Posted by: blogone | February 22, 2006

Brain Dump. Close but no cigar for Desktop LINUX…?

I woke up this morning thinking that the opportunity for the desktop LINUX may have come and gone. I am by no means a LINUX expert. I like LINUX and the philosophy behind the FSF. I apologize for any errors in my post below. This is just a brain dump when I got out of bed.

Summary:
For Linux to succeed on the desktop the developers of the software need to think more about the end user and ease of use than how much they don't like MS.

GNU operating system was developed by Richard M.Stallman and the GNU project.
LINUX Kernel – developed by Linus Torvalds. A Kernel is the software that allows all the other bits of software to work together.
LINUX Operating systems distributions supplied by RED HAT, Novell, Debian, Ubuntu, Yellow Dog and many more.
Majority of people (including Linus Torvalds) believe that the name of the operating system is LINUX. Stallman believes that the correct name of the operating system is GNU/LINUX (pron. GNU slash Linux).
GNU/Linux is very popular as a server operating system.
More and more each year there is talk of "the year of the Linux desktop". I woke up thinking that this may never happen. Why?

Distributions.
There are lots of different GNU/Linux distributions. That's good because you are not limited to running GNU/Linux on your new PC, you can run it on your old PC, or you laptop etc. The problem is that some software that you can run on one distribution may not run on another distribution without some tweaking or modification of the software code, or by downloading some other software or changing a dependency or something else that I just don't care about. I am the end user. I just want it to work.

If desktop Linux is to work, I believe the the LINUX companies and development teams need to focus and think about what an end user uses a PC / Laptop for. They need to have one standard for programs that run on the desktop. Take away the hassle from the end user. One type of install file be it RPM or something else. I think about installing files on a Windows PC. I run the exe file and soon the program is installed. Why not desktop Linux. Remember United LINUX. What happened to that? I believe that GNU/LINUX will not make that jump from a server operating system to a desktop to really challenge Microsoft because the companies involved cannot make their minds up and agree on a standard. This is a loss to the end user and to the GNU/Linux community.

Developers
Why would a software developer want to write different versions of the same program that should run on the same operating system? Waste of time. Write one 'exe type' package manger to deal with the installation – all of it.

Google, Apple or other…
A lot of people are talking about Google as Microsoft's new big competitor for the desktop. Not too mention Apple and its new Intel based PC's (sorry Mac's). Apple's products work. Someone mentioned the other day "if you want it (the machine) to work, get a Mac, if you want to play around with it get a PC." The days of talking about how much memory you have or how you are going to change your graphics card for a higher spec, how fast your processor is are gone.

Google has released a number of software programs (link) that work really well on the desktop (Windows anyway), Google Earth, Gmail, Google Desktop Search, Picasa and on and on…
This is what PC users want – software that works well, and that is easy to use and install. Linux on the desktop does not offer that. It could, but I doubt that it will get the chance.

Stars and dogs.
Openoffice is a fantastic free desktop productivity suite that can run on Windows based platforms and GNU/Linux platforms. The install process on a Windows Machine is more straightforward on Windows than LINUX, why? It also comes as part of most LINUX distributions installation. However its a bit more challenging to install or to update from a download.

GIMP (Image program) is a one of the best programs you will find on LINUX. Again it comes with most distros already installed. If you are the desktop user and want to install it or update it. Have fun.

Dogs
Try to connect to a network drive, connect to a network printer, add a new disk drive (you may be able to read the drive but can you write to it??) or any other task that you might need to do in an office environment. It is just not that easy to do with GNU/LINUX.

Summary
GNU/LINUX developers need to think more about the end users of the operating environment and the software developers and make it as easy as possible for them to use the products. Then LINUX on the desktop may be a challenge to MS, GOOGLE, APPLE and others.
Time is running out.

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Responses

  1. check this out alan – good for your musical journeys – http://www.pandora.com

    Liam

  2. too much information


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